WITH AGE COMES MATURITY: 2022 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE ‘L’
Through all of its trials and tribulations, one thing is for certain, no matter how old the last generation Jeep Grand Cherokee got, consumers still flocked to the lots to buy them. Being that it has been nearly 10-years since we saw a newly engineered Grand Cherokee, we were starting to wonder if they were going to follow Toyota’s handbook and tease us with more “Special Editions” as the years went on. With a new generation of Grand Cherokee’s ahead of us, it may have gotten wider in the hips and heavier on the scales, but with age comes grace and maturity – and that’s what this all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee represents.
Over the last decade we’ve seen several automakers upgrade their two row sporty haulers into three-row escapades for screaming toddlers. So naturally Jeep caved to the demand of the three-row cat call. Single, lonely hearted adventurers and no-kids-allowed couples no need to fret however, the Grand Cherokee is still true to its core, with its shorter, two rower; this one however, is the extended length, hence the name Grand Cherokee “L”
You won’t find very many differences between the standard size Grand Cherokee and this extended length variant. Like any two-row crossover that has conformed to its new third-row lifestyle, Jeep took a standard Grand Cherokee and stretched it to fit its new row of passengers. However, since this is technically all new, Jeep has engineered everything at the forefront; unlike some others, *cough, Lexus.* The Grand Cherokee L has been engineered from the start to be a large, capable crossover to keep it as off-road worthy that follows its Jeep nameplate while hauling more passengers than one would know what to do with.
Since the Wagoneer is now seen as the Jeeps flagship model, many of the Grand Cherokees design elements and propositions follow suit. The lines are clean and represent a simple design while bestowing a superior, confident advent with its wide stance and modern aptitude. It’s quite handsome looking and shows how well it has matured with age and will age even better over the coming years.
We find a lot of similar contemporary design elements overflowing into the interior cabin space as well with an uplifting premium setting. Jeep elevated the interior improving its craftsmanship and use of quality materials. Our sampler was a pre-production Overland model that sat third in line from the top of model range. Reserved for the top end, the Summit and Summit Reserve feature a semi-luxurious interior fitted with quilted nappa leather seats and real wood trim accents. Even with our Overland variant, the interior wasn’t short of surprises with ascetically pleasing wood and metal accents.
Foregoing the large screen mantra that other automakers have trended towards, the 10.1-inch optional infotainment system seems rather fitting than showy. The display suits the interiorwith a short approach and simple to navigate functionality, as well as offering wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity. Our pre-production model encountered a few system hiccups throughout our duration, we’re hopeful that some of the bugs were worked out.
In terms of comfort, the front seats will always be the best seat in any crossover. Our Overland featured the usual premium comfort features with both seats being power, heated and cooled with memory settings, but the icing on the cake was the massage feature keeping us calm and collective in two-hour long rush hour traffic. The second and third rows however aren’t that bad either. Second row seats have best-in-class legroom with plenty of space to stretch out – second row seats are also heated with their own climate control system and side window shades. Even the third-row is sometimes considered an afterthought – most likely to be used by the least likable person. Here, however, that’s not quite the case – the third row is semi-easy to access by a full-size adult as long as their okay with some embarrassing maneuvers and is rather quite comfortable for a longer than average destination jaunt.
Even though the Grand Cherokee is all-new from the ground up, there is some carry over counterparts from the previous generation, like its powertrain. All Grand Cherokee L’s receive the baseline 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 we’re all too familiar with. To Jeeps advantage, why change what works and this V6 engine that was equipped in our tester left us with no complaints. With 293-horsepower on tap from an 8-speed automatic transmission, there was something raw, yet so joyful about this powertrain. Perhaps it’s one of the few crossovers left that hasn’t gone gun hoe for the turbos. If someone feels like they need more grunt in their life, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 has made a comeback for 357-horsepower and 390lb-ft of torque. Of course, the HEMI engine requires $3295 more up front and is available on the Overland, Summit and Summit Reserve in 4×4 only.
Taking about 7-second to 60-mph, the Grand Cherokee carries itself with poise. It doesn’t feel heavy or as if it needs more power. We wouldn’t call the Grand Cherokee L exciting by any measure, but the transmission pairing does a decent job doing its part – even though there are steering wheel paddle shifters, they’ll most likely never be used. On the road, the Jeep is, well, like any family vehicle, its smooth, it’s quiet, and it’s comfortable. For a large utility vehicle the steering wheel feels connected and it maneuvers swiftly through tight spaces. The Overland comes standard with 20-inch wheels; however, with $1095 Off-Road Group package, our wheels were downgraded to 18-inches that provide better absorption when the pavement ends and the journey begins. The off-road package also added skid plates to nearly every important bit under the chassis like the fuel tank, limited-slip differential axle, front suspension and transfer case.
Keeping true to its Jeep capabilities, there were no shortages when it came to its off-road attributes, allegedly. And let’s just say we weren’t about to take a $60,000 family crossover rock climbing to find out its limitations. However, the Grand Cherokee L features the Selec-Terrain traction control management system that works by adjusting the type of road or off-conditions that lie ahead. It features a real low-range transfer case with an adjustable air suspension that can rise to a fairly decent amount to clear any rough obstacle, like a parking curb.
With a Jeep Grand Cherokee L Laredo 4X4 starting at $40,635 it marks itself as one of the more expensive crossovers in the segment – $3900 more than a Toyota Highlander L AWD, $1800 more than a Honda Pilot Sport AWD, and $3500 more than a Ford Explorer 4WD. However, with its off-road capabilities paired with its modern, relaxing interior, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L manages to maintain that Jeep ideology without sacrificing quality and comfort.
|Vehicle:||2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland|
|Horsepower/Torque:||293-Horsepower | 260 lbs-ft of Torque|
|MPG:||19 | 26 | 22 (City | Highway | Combined)|
|As-Tested MPG:||16.7-MPG Combined|
|0-60 MPH:||±7.5 seconds|